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Speakers & Amplified Sound Policies for 2018

Firefly makes noise!  Firefly also has neighbors.  Since all-night bass doesn’t always make them happy, Firefly has a Sound core to help us not piss off the surrounding community.  Soundcore recommends and enforces a ‘Don’t be stupid’ policy.  One person being stupid can jeopardize the entire event.  So don’t be stupid.

Sound Info for Every Year

  • The main field is a quiet space after midnight.
  • If you plan to bring amplified sound louder than a boombox, contact so noise impacts on neighbors can be minimized.
  • Loud events (drum circles, primal scream flashmobs) and noisy art (fire poofers) have the same considerations.
  • Be aware of specific sound requirements, which vary from year to year.

Many tactics are involved.  For example:

  • Amplified sound may be banned for certain days, hours, or locations.
  • Art/camp placements are informed by sound considerations, or history of the camp.
  • Art/camp speakers are assigned to point towards a designated compass coordinate, which varies by camp.
  • Sound core may visit neighboring areas to check sound levels as heard from outside.
  • Immediate or planned responses to sound complaints.
  • Sound core may ask you to adjust your sound, turn it down, or turn it off.

Sound Policies for 2018

Camps with amplified sound read this plz!

If you have a sound camp that is not on the list below, please contact Soundcore ASAP!

In short — Sound mitigation is again difficult this year due to where the 4th lands with workdays for the surrounding neighbors.

This years plan

Monday (Early Arrival) — Low level music off a small speaker until sundown is fine while setting up your camp.

Tuesday — No PA systems. Small handheld Bluetooth speakers are OK all day/night – except in quiet camping and anywhere in the field area. Anything that has a carry handle is not a small handheld speaker.

Wednesday — Starting at 10am PA’s at moderate volume is OK (This mean under 90 SPL), but shutdown all PA systems by 11pm. Small handheld Bluetooth speakers are OK after 11pm, as per above.

Thursday — Starting at 10am PA’s at reasonable volume until 11pm, then lower levels to under 90 SPL & shutoff subwoofers.

Friday & Saturday — PA’s at reasonable volume — Don’t be stupid. Subwoofers back on at 11am Friday if you really need to. Please dip sound levels/subwoofers a bit around 1am especially if it is cold out that evening.

Folks from Soundcore will be making rounds throughout the event.

What is reasonable volume? Do you need to run your PA at stupid loud% with a few people on your dance floor / at camp? Do people really need to shout to each other standing a few feet away from your speakers? Is doing any of these things really necessary or adding in any positive way to your camp/event?


And the full message:

We did much better last year then in the previous year in regards to noise disturbances outside of the Firefly land. We only had a few incidents which were dealt with internally before any external complaints were received. Part of this was due to folks being much more respectful of our limitations in regard to how loud we can be. Camps helping monitor other camps seems to have helped as well; which we will again be implementing this year. All Sound Camps with large systems need to join Soundcore to help in monitoring sound levels (see below). Firefly is held in very close proximity of neighbors that don’t enjoy the techno as much as the bears do. This also includes any fire art that generates shockwaves (poofers). This also means no fire art or amplified sound in the fields in the evenings of the event.

As Firefly grows it’s easy to get caught up our small temporary thing for the week, and lose perspective that there are folks who live there for the other 51 weeks in the year. These folks view our event simply as noise pollution. It has always been a delicate balance to try to minimize our sound levels emanating from Firefly given the constraints of our location along with being fair to everyone.

That said this year we are asking for no PA amplified sound on Tuesday – Low level setup music is totally fine until dark. Wednesday music can go till 11pm – AT MODERATE VOLUME. After this time, turn off your PA and please no drum circles/etc. Small bluetooth speakers are completely fine during any of these times. (Soundboks units do not count as small bluetoof speakers) Again please do not be stupid.

Other issues encountered last year were DJs turning down sound levels while folks from Soundcore were present, and then turning it back up after they had left. Don’t do this, this is being stupid. We will send Blake after you.

In order to be fair to everyone, if an external sound complaint is receivedAll camps will need to turn down or even cease amplified music. Depending on the severity of the complaint and/or how pissed the state police are, it could be for the evening or the rest of the event. Ideally we do not to fuck up in the first place.

Please only run your sound systems as needed – if your dance floor is mostly empty, do you really need to be running your sound near it’s maximum output? This is just wasting fuel, likely upsetting your Firefly neighbors and putting the event at risk for everyone else. Bonus! If your sound system has a limiter, please use it! Ideally we do not want anyone going over 85-94 SPL-A (temperature dependent). Inform your DJs on this! Even better, post a sign by the DJ mixer or keep an aluminum baseball bat / large stick handy!

I have a few limiters in SB’s inventory I can lend out for the event if anyone is interested.

We need to follow a lower volume period as we did last year, around 1am please lower the sound level a bit and dip down the subwoofer level. This is also true if we have some very cold nights. Sound carries further, so please keep this in mind and adjust your volume accordingly. I will have a temperature and humidity monitor in our tech tent at Diode. Please do not operate any fire art that generates shockwaves during this time as well.

As from last year we will have quiet camping zones (which will be reflected on the Firefly map). Northwest of the stone wall (back forty area), and east of the stream are considered quiet camping areas this year (We ask that no amplified sound or generator use take place after 9pm each night in these areas. If you are looking for quiet camping, please camp here and not west of Verdant ave which will be quite loud. That is where the cluster of sound camps are normally placed.

If you feel the need to walk around pointing a speaker at folks trying to sleep at 7 in the morning for your ‘art’ – Don’t. It just pisses people off. Especially if in a quiet camping area. You’ll likely get your toy taken away. (This has happened more then once).

If you are a Firefly attendee and you feel a soundcamp is being exceeding or needlessly loud, please bring to the attention of a member of Soundcore (Myself / Dr Claw / Chooch / Ian from Strange Maine), a Firefly Ranger, or Blake. This needs to be an effort everyone participates in – one Soundcamp / peoples misbehaving affects everyone. If noise complaints occur this year we may have to even further regulate sound levels next year so we can return for 2019. This could mean no subwoofers in the evening or even no sound late night. This has happened to PDF on their old site –

A new policy this year is every sound camp with a sound system that weighs more than 18lb needs to join Soundcore to help in monitoring sound levels. Soundcore will provide SPL meters for use during the event. The idea here is to bring more people into actively monitoring our sound levels, as to not just fall on the few Soundcore folks. Each camp will appoint one or more people who will be part of Soundcore for the weekend. These people will be monitoring other camps then their own. This entails checking in on the assigned camp every few hours.

Soundcore will have a meeting at Diode at 4pm Wednesday to discuss what this all entails and hand out SPL meters.

The following camps have been identified as needing to join Soundcore, if you are adamantly opposed to this; please PM me and maybe we’ll figure something out.

Theme Camp  –>  Monitoring Levels for… 

Dharma Initiative  –>  Camp Here
The Love and Lions Den  –>  Diode
Camp Lamp  –>  Meat Space 9
Bring-A-Cup  –>  Cabana Hammock
Strange Maine  –>  Camp Lamp
Totenkitten  –>  The Love and Lions Den
The Universe  –>  Strange Maine
Diode  –>  Totenkitten
Meat Space 9  –>  The Universe
Cabana Hammock  –>  Bring-A-Cup
Camp Here  –>  Dharma Initiative


Please bring a compass and refer to the below headings for each camp that submitted they will have amplified sound. Using the below heading, please point all sound sources in this direction. If you do not have a compass, find me during setup and I can help you out with locating the correct direction to point your audible probable cause makers.

A short tutorial on finding a compass bearing/heading can be found here: – Remember the Firefly map is not situated with north on the top of map – it’s west.

-> Note these have changed from last year to try to further avoid a residential area.

I’ve written the compass heading your placement foam plate that is hung up in most theme camp sites.

Some camps have much larger sound setups then others, but it all adds up. Please be respectful and fair to all, by following the below headings:


The Love and Lions Den – 300º

midnight poutine – 290º

Camp Lamp – 220º

Bring A Cup – 240º

Gluten Free Halloween – 230º

Totenkitten – Monitor at 310º (4 point PA is approved)

The Universe – 250º

Camp Blue Screen of Death – 290º

Camp Here – 270º

Diode – 4 point PA – monitor at 280º

Meat Space 9 (Meat Camp) – 240º

Cabana Hammock – 250º

Camp Strange Maine – 300º

Electric Cool Aid – 260º

Rainbow Dinosars – 200º

Dharma Initiative – 280º

Camp Sexy – 190º

Glamp Island – 240º

Camp Questionable – 190º

Astral Chill – 280º

Art Support Camp (FF stage) – 2fiddyº

As always any thoughts/suggestions on how to improve on this are much appreciated! And really please, don’t be stupid with sound levels.

Nick Binary – Soundcore Lead
Head Bottle Washer – SB Productions

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